Toothpaste: How Much Is Too Much?
If your children have ever seen a toothpaste ad or commercial, they have likely witnessed a very generous amount of toothpaste perfectly swirled across the bristles of a toothbrush. But is this really an appropriate amount of toothpaste, especially for a child? There answer is no. Your child should only be brushing with a “pea size” amount of toothpaste if he or she is between the ages of 3 and 6 years old. In fact, not only is that big glob of toothpaste not necessary to get the job done, it can actually be damaging to your child’s teeth. It can be difficult for a child to spit out large amounts of toothpaste. When your child ingests too much fluoride over time, it can lead to a condition called fluorosis. If It can during you notice your child’s teeth becoming chalky white or yellow and brittle they may be getting too much fluoride in their diet. Therefore, it is important for parents to monitor their children’s toothpaste use as well as be aware of how much fluoride is in your local tap water to best avoid fluorosis.
While we do need to be careful in not letting our kids overdose on toothpaste, it is even more important that we don’t neglect oral hygiene at a young age. Begin brushing and seeing a dentist as soon as you see that first tooth emerge. Parents can begin cleaning a baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping their gums with a clean washcloth. Furthermore, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs has updated its guidelines to expand the use of fluoride toothpaste to include children younger than 3 years old. For these toddlers, only a smear of fluoride toothpaste is needed, no more than the size of a grain of rice.
A family dentist, such as Gilreath Dental Associates, has the expertise you need to help you monitor the appropriate toothpaste use for your child. Using too much toothpaste is a common habit not only for kids who like to see the suds of toothpaste foam in their mouth, but also for adults who may think that more toothpaste will make their mouth cleaner. Now that you know the facts on how much toothpaste use is necessary, you might save some money on buying toothpaste in your home!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates